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Image Sharpening

The P1 offers control over the internal sharpening algorithms of the camera, you can choose from five different levels of sharpening The samples below are 100% crops of different sharpening levels for the same scene.

Sharpening -2 (Soft) Sharpening -1 (Soft)
Sharpening 0 (None) Sharpening +1 (Hard)
 
Sharpening +2 (Hard)  


Digital Zoom

Readers of my reviews will know I'm not a huge fan of digital zoom as it's often a badly implemented and seldom used (by owners) marketing "ploy" to sell cameras which don't have an optical zoom. The P1 features the largest optical zoom (3 x) of any ultra compact 3 megapixel digital camera (at the time of writing this review), on top of this it has a smooth range of digital zooms which can be used on top. They are however simply cropping (selecting the mid part of the image) and sampling-up, the only advantage in doing digital zoom inside the camera is (a) if you don't have any photo software to magnify (and interpolate) the image or (b) to digitally zoom without zooming the JPEG artifacts.

Full optical zoom (117 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)
Full optical zoom + 2 x digital zoom (234 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)


Internal Flash

The flash on the DSC-P1 has a range rated as Wide: 0.5 - 2.3 m (19" - 7.5ft), Tele: 0.5 - 1.2 m (19" - 4ft). Optionally you can also push the flash output up or down by one level via the menu.

Skin tone test, just at the edge of minimum range here, dropping flash output to Low would solve this slight over exposure. Still, skin tones are good (no blueness). Yep, that little flash is having problems lighting our wall 3 m away.. Having said that coverage is fairly even without any noticeable drop-off. Pushing the flash level to High may give a little more range.
 
Colour chart (shot at an angle to remove reflections). Good performance. Good white balance.  


Macro

Unfortunately the macro mode on the P1 doesn't live up to the heritage of it's older brothers. It's difficult to get a good focus lock in macro mode at anything more than full wide angle, unless you get about 40 cm back from the subject, at which distance you don't gain any frame coverage.

This was the closest macro I could achieve, at full wide angle with the camera about 8 cm away from the subject (which is still less than the quoted 10 cm).

Frame coverage is about 90 mm (3.5").

It has to be said that this limitation is what we'd expect of such a small lens system (it's amazing they've managed to squeeze a 3x optical zoom into such a small place).


Low Light / Night shots

I didn't have a huge amount of success with the P1 in Twilight+ mode, as the sample night scene below shows, the camera wouldn't focus properly (and there's no manual focus / landscape lock) and the two second longest exposure just isn't long enough to capture the kind of shot I was really looking for. I've made an improved (Photoshop'd) version available too.

Twilight+, 1/2s, F4.0 Twilight+, 2.0s, F3.4
 
Image above right "curved" in Photoshop  
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